- New Jersey's Morris County Public Safety Training Academy plans to begin teaching classes on dealing with fires related to compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles due to ongoing incidents in the state, as reported by the Madison Eagle.
- In the best case fire scenario, when no waste is inside a truck, the gas can burn out in around 15 minutes. In other cases, if the gas lines are compromised or a tank ruptures, flames can shoot out as far as 40 feet from the vehicle.
- Officials say that if the fire becomes too large it can be hard to reach the truck and turn off the gas valve. Morris County has been in contact with representatives from the CNG industry to develop safer methods for firefighters and first responders to deal with these incidents.
As companies and municipalities work to modernize their fleets while meeting stricter emissions standards, many have turned to natural gas vehicles. The Solid Waste Association of North America has estimated that more than 50% of new vehicles in the industry are now fueled by some form of natural gas. One of the most recent examples is in Utah, where the Wasatch Front Waste & Recycling District converted its entire fleet to CNG.
While the large majority of these vehicles have been operating without incident, stories about exploding collection vehicles that damage homes and businesses can affect public perception. More than a dozen fires in CNG collection vehicles have been reported in recent years with no notable injuries.
Poor maintenance or electrical issues were cited as common causes, indicating the importance of regular fleet upkeep for companies of any size. Like with the facility fires that are a semi-common occurrence in the industry, proper training and coordination with local fire officials are recommended as the best prevention methods.